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Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Washington to the rescue...of Raytheon

In the news we learn that the U.S. is sending Patriot anti-missile defense systems to Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, to defend against the non-existent threat of Iranian missiles (not that the missiles don't exist, but that the only chance they will be used against those four countries is if one of them foolishly allows its territory to be used as a launching pad for an attack on Iran, which can be prevented simply by not doing it).

Interestingly enough, these aren't the only Patriot missiles in the news. Within the last week the U.S. has announced plans to place such weapons in Poland and also in Taiwan, to defend against more non-existent threats.

What's really being "defended" in all these instances isn't these countries at all, but the Raytheon Corporation, which coincidentally just announced a 20% profit increase and that's before any of the deals just announced. And these are no small deals! The sale to Taiwan is a $3.1 billion deal. In the case of Poland and the four Gulf States, the news is somewhat ambiguous about whether those countries will be paying for the missiles, or whether the U.S. government (i.e., the oh-so-generous U.S. taxpayers) will be placing the missiles in those countries at its (our) expense, but in either case, it's Raytheon where the money will end up.

Nor is this a new development; it's been going on for a while:

Over the past six months Washington has stepped up arms sales, notifying Congress of deals such as a $410m Patriot missile system upgrade for Kuwait, a $7.8bn Patriot deal with Turkey, and substantial sales to Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bought more than $15 billion in American arms in the past two years, including missile defense systems.

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